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Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde's Oeuvre on Religious Freedom Applied to Recent Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019

Abstract

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In Europe, issues concerning religious freedom are hotly debated. Many courts had to consider cases concerning infringement of religious freedom. This Article will focus on three examples: Headscarves, burqas, and crucifixes. Often, the interests of members of minority religions have lost in European courts and European constitutional courts. This is particularly true considering the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights upheld bans on headscarves for students in universities and public secondary schools, as well as for teachers in public schools. The Court also accepted bans on full-body veils worn in public areas. Finally, mandatory crucifixes in public schools have been deemed to conform to the standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights. In all of these cases, the European Court of Human Rights has not adequately construed religious freedom as a strong right.

This is where the work of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde comes in. Böckenförde has thoroughly discussed the proper role of religion in a democratic society. Coming from a theoretical starting point, he developed an understanding of religious freedom as a strong right. He also explained why State neutrality should be understood in terms of open neutrality. Both perspectives help to more fully explain the scope of religious freedom.

Type
Open Neutrality and Religion-State Relations
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by German Law Journal, Inc. 

References

1 See Şahin v. Turkey, 2005-XI Eur. Ct. H.R. 173 [hereinafter Şahin Case].Google Scholar

2 See Dogru v. France, App. No. 27058/05 (Mar. 4, 2009), http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/ [hereinafter Dogru Case]; Kervanci v. France, App. No. 31645/04 (Mar. 4, 2009), http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/.Google Scholar

3 Dahlab v. Switzerland, 2001-V Eur. Ct. H.R. 447 [hereinafter Dahlab Case].Google Scholar

4 S.A.S. v. France, 2014-III Eur. Ct. H.R. 341 [hereinafter S.A.S. Case].Google Scholar

5 Lautsi and Others v. Italy, 2011-III Eur. Ct. H.R. 61 [hereinafter Lautsi Case].Google Scholar

6 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Das Grundrecht der Gewissensfreiheit, 28 Veröffentlichungen der Vereinigung der Deutschen Staatsrechtslehrer [VVDStRL] 33, 37 (1970), translated in Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, The Basic Right of Freedom of Conscience, in 2 Religion, law, and Democracy: Selected Writings (Mirjam Künkler & Tine Stein eds., forthcoming 2018). As the translation is not quite finalized, some slight changes have been introduced.Google Scholar

7 Böckenförde, supra note 6, at 33.Google Scholar

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11 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Bekenntnisfreiheit in einer pluralen Gesellschaft und die Neutralitätspflicht des Staates, in Kirche und Christlicher Glaube in den Herausforderungen der Zeit 439, 442 (2d ed. 2003).Google Scholar

12 Böckenförde, supra note 6, at 37.Google Scholar

13 Id. at 49.Google Scholar

15 See id. at 53.Google Scholar

16 See id. at 54.Google Scholar

17 See id. at 54.Google Scholar

18 Thankfully, few such cases exist.Google Scholar

19 See Böckenförde, supra note 6, at 60.Google Scholar

20 See id. at 61 (citing Adolf Arndt, an important German social-democrat and jurist in the early times of the Federal Republic).Google Scholar

21 See generally Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, Die Entstehung des Staates als Vorgang der Säkularisierung, in Staat, Gesellschaft, Freiheit (1976), translated in Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, The Rise of the State as a Process of Secularization, in 2 Religion, Law, and Democracy: Selected Writings (Mirjam Künkler & Tine Stein eds., forthcoming 2018).Google Scholar

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23 See Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, Der säkularisierte Staat: Sein Charakter, seine Rechtfertigung und seine Probleme im 21. Jahrhundert 43–72 (2nd ed. 2015), translated in Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, The Secularized State: Its Character, Justification, and Problems in the 21st Century, in 2 Religion, Law, and Democracy: Selected Writings (Mirjam Künkler & Tine Stein eds., forthcoming 2018).Google Scholar

24 See Böckenförde, supra note 11, at 446–48.Google Scholar

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27 Id. at 39.Google Scholar

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31 Id. at 25.Google Scholar

34 Id. at 26.Google Scholar

35 Staatsgerichtshof Hessen [StGH Hessen] [Hessian State Constitutional Court] Oct. 27, 1965, 21 Juristenzeitung [JZ] 337 (1966).Google Scholar

36 See generally Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, Religionsfreiheit und öffentliches Schulgebet, 49 Die Öffentliche Verwaltung [Dhöv] 30 (1966).Google Scholar

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39 Bundesverfassungsgericht [BVerfGE] [Federal Constitutional Court], Oct. 16, 1979, 52 Entscheidungen des Bundesverfassungsgerichts [BVerfGE] 223.Google Scholar

40 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Zum Ende des Schulgebetsstreits, 61 Die Öffentliche Verwaltung [DÖV] 323, 324 (1980).Google Scholar

44 Böckenförde, supra note 40, at 325.Google Scholar

46 See generally Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, Kreuze (Kruzifixe) in Gerichtssälen?, 20 Zeitschrift Für Evangelisches Kirchenrecht 119 (1975).Google Scholar

48 Id. at 139.Google Scholar

49 Id. at 144.Google Scholar

50 Bundesverfassungsgericht, May 16, 1995, 93 BVerfGE 1 [hereinafter Judgment of May 16, 1995].Google Scholar

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52 Cf. Bundesverwaltungsgericht [BVerwG] [Federal Administrative Court], Apr. 21, 1999, 109 Entscheidungen des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts [BVerwGE] 40, with Judgment of May 16, 1995. Google Scholar

53 Böckenförde, supra note 11, at 452.Google Scholar

54 Judgment of May 16, 1995 at para. 18.Google Scholar

55 See generally Sacksofsky, Ute, Religion and Equality in Germany: The Headscarf Debate from a Constitutional Perspective, in European Union Non-Discrimination Law: Comparative Perspectives on Multidimensional Equality Law 353–70 (Dagmar Schiek & Victoria Cheg eds., 2008) (providing a fuller story of the development of the headscarf debate up to 2009).Google Scholar

56 Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Jul. 4, 2002, 116 BVerwGE 359.Google Scholar

58 Bundesverfassungsgericht, Sept. 24, 2003, 108 BVerfGE 282.Google Scholar

60 Id. at paras. 302, 309.Google Scholar

61 Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Jun. 24, 2004, 121 BVerwGE 140.Google Scholar

63 Bundesverfassungsgericht, Jan. 27, 2015, 138 BVerfGE 296 [hereinafter Judgment of Jan. 27, 2015].Google Scholar

64 See, e.g., Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, Das Kopftuchverbot trifft auch Kreuz und Kippa, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Oct. 13, 2004, at 6; Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Das Kopftuch ist ein Stück Integration, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Jul. 17, 2006, at 6 [hereinafter Böckenförde, Das Kopftuch ist ein Stück Integration].Google Scholar

65 Böckenförde, Das Kopftuch ist ein Stück Integration, supra note 64.Google Scholar

66 See Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang, “Kopftuchstreit” auf dem richtigen Weg?, 54 Neue Juristische Wochenschrift [NJW] 723–28 (2001).Google Scholar

67 Böckenförde, supra note 64.Google Scholar

70 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Zum Verbot für Lehrkräfte in der Schule ein islamisches Kopftuch zu tragen, 59 Juristen Zeitung [JZ] 1181, 1184 (2004).Google Scholar

71 Judgment of Jan. 27, 2015. Google Scholar

72 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms art. 9, Nov. 4, 1950, 213 U.N.T. 222 [hereinafter European Convention for Human Rights].Google Scholar

73 S.A.S., 2014-III Eur. Ct. H.R. 341.Google Scholar

74 Id. at 109–10.Google Scholar

75 Id. at 122.Google Scholar

77 Id. at 141.Google Scholar

78 Dahlab, 2001-V Eur. Ct. H.R. 447.Google Scholar

79 See Şahin, 2005-XI Eur. Ct. H.R. 173.Google Scholar

80 Id. at 109.Google Scholar

81 Dogru, App. No. 27058/05.Google Scholar

82 Böckenförde, supra note 23, at 20.Google Scholar

83 Lautsi, 2011-III Eur. Ct. H.R. 61.Google Scholar

85 See generally Sacksofsky, Ute, Religiöse Freiheit als Gefahr?, 68 Veröffentlichungen der Vereinigung der Deutschen Staatsrechtslehrer [VVDStRL] 9 (2009).Google Scholar

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